Hershey Montessori School celebrated its 1st Commencement on Sunday, June 3rd, 2018. We are proud and delighted to have celebrated the Inaugural Graduating Class of Hershey Montessori School! Recently students were accepted to the following colleges: Allegheny College, Baldwin Wallace University, Case Western Reserve University, Cuyahoga Community College, Emerson College, Guilford College, Hiram College, Kent State University, Lake Erie College, Mercyhurst University, Miami University, Oberlin College, The Ohio State University, Ohio University, University of Akron, University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton, and University of Maryland.
Our school profile provides more information about matriculation and acceptances, as well as the academic talent of our students.
We wish our exceptional students the very best and look forward to hearing of their experiences and achievements as they embark on the next stage of their academic or working lives.
“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
Marianna Pasaret is a 2012 graduate of the Huntsburg campus of Hershey Montessori School. She is a current resident of Austin Texas and was recently interviewed by ESPEROS in their SoHo stories blog which focused on Lifting Women Up.
Marianna is a multimedia artist, concentrating on a combination of digital and sketch work. She exhibited in London late last year and was Boss Babes’ resident artist last winter. Read her inspiring interview where she discusses what and who empowers her and how she lifts other women up. We at Hershey are very happy for her success both as an artist and an inspiration!
As the Alumni Coordinator, it is wonderful to have the opportunity to speak with alumni about their favorite memories and the lessons that have stayed with them through their lives. It is a joy to re-live some of those experiences while looking through photos of former students working in the classrooms. Let’s take a look at some of the work and materials we used and how those translated into lessons we learned later in our academic careers and lives! A variety of resources are being used to collect information to share with you (infomontessori.com, American Montessori Internationale, Montessori 101 to list a few). These posts will be called ‘This Material’s Purpose.’ Today, let’s look at two of the most memorable materials for a Montessorian, and those are the Pink Tower and the Brown Stair.
There were many reasons why we learned how to use and put together the Pink Tower when we were in Children’s House. It is sensorial work, which helped us classify what was around us, ultimately helping us with organization and adaptation to our environment. It showed us the difference between something large (the bottom blocks), and small (the top blocks), and also to learn the language of comparison. It helped us with motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and it even planted the seeds for mathematics lessons that we would learn later. The smallest block is 1cm cubed and they get larger by 1cm cubed up to the largest block which is 10cm cubed. This helped us spatially see the mathematical relationship of the blocks.
(Photo: Hershey Montessori School student putting together the Pink Tower)
The Brown Stair was also taught to us for many of the same reasons as the Pink Tower. Each of the ‘stairs’ or the rectangular blocks called ‘prisms’ are 20cm long, but the heights grow incrementally larger with the smallest stair’s height being 1cm by 1cm, and increasing in size to 10cm by 10cm. These materials helped us to understand thickness and recognize the differences in weight between the sizes. Like the Pink Tower, the Brown Stair helped us see relationship and a visual understanding of objects getting incrementally thinner and thicker. Another purpose for these two martials is called “materialized abstractions” – the sensorial materials help bring concepts that were abstract into the concrete.
Something very important to Dr. Montessori was that all of the materials handled by children were aesthetically pleasing. It was important because the materials needed to be desirable by us so we would want to touch them and learn more about them. As children, we needed to be able to feel and hold things to get a better understanding of them so all of the sensorial materials were of quality materials, pleasing to the eye and touch, and easy to manipulate. Dr. Montessori said, “He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.”
(Photo: Dr. Montessori working with a young child)
Is there a Montessori material you’d like to learn more about? Please comment below or email me at email@example.com.
Thank you for reading!
Makella Webster, Hershey Montessori School Alumni Coordinator
On March 16th, five Hershey Montessori School Alumni shared insights into our lives after Hershey Montessori School. Each of us are in different places in our lives and careers so it was interesting to see how we each have ways in common that our time at Hershey Montessori School impacts us in our lives, school, and careers today. Katie Vadakin and I participated remotely and Andrew Yarger, Connor DeWalt, and Leigh Emelko participated in person at the Concord Campus.
In honor of Montessori Education Week, honoring the sense of community that was fostered in us as Montessori students is important.
Many people go about their lives looking inward, asking questions like ‘How can I help me?’ ‘Is this going to benefit me?’ ‘What can I get out of doing this?’ ‘How can that person help me get ahead?’ While Montessori promotes independence, decision making, and helping the child to think for themselves, there is also an external focus to the work done, the lessons taught, and community that is fostered. In many, if not all, of the lessons that we learned as students, there was a thread that runs through them which is the betterment of the world and mankind – sometimes through the connection with nature and other living things, sometimes through projects that help the community run smoothly, sometimes through knowledge about historical issues and issues facing society today, sometimes it’s through the Practical Life work. Almost every lesson we were taught had a connection to the greater world – what we learned was to either directly better the world and those around us, or to equip and inspire us to make the world around us better.
(All photos are of Hershey Montessori School students or former students)
Dr. Montessori called children ‘a hope and a promise for mankind…’, said that “An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking; it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live…” and that, “The child is capable of developing and giving us tangible proof of the possibility of a better humanity.”
Dr. Montessori said these things because she believed that her curriculum and the way that she designed an educational system are meant to educate children as a whole, not just academically. By educating the whole child and interweaving peace and community throughout the pedagogy, these statements she made are attainable because the alumni and former students will be living out the principals of peace and community knowingly and unknowingly.
Looking at the basic needs of an individual, the desire for community (and thus peace within that community) is one of the essentials. According to Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs,’ once the basics are met (food, clothing, shelter, safety), the next level of need is belonging, followed by esteem, self-actualization, and self-transcendence, which is helping others. Dr. Montessori designed a curriculum and a system that educates, develops, and encourages these innate needs which is a big reason why it works. She knew what mankind needed – belongingness, esteem, self-actualization, and self-transcendence – and developed an environment where those needs are met, fostered, cared for, and grown. The environment that Dr. Montessori envisioned was created by Hershey Montessori School 39 years ago with over 1,000 students having had the chance to experience it. In honor of Montessori Education Week, that is worth celebrating!
As students, we were taught that we have something to contribute, that we were capable of much, and that we could make a difference. We were recognized as unique individuals and given freedom within limits to foster our individuality within the greater community. Being encouraged in this way inspires us to better the world around us and to contribute.
Katie Vadakin, a Hershey Montessori School Alumni Ambassador who attended Hershey from 1998 to 2010 said, “…it has become extremely clear to me all that Montessori has provided me with. From people skills, to academics, to leadership abilities, Hershey has given me a perfect base for success.”
To sum it up, promoting community and peace alongside providing an education for the whole child results in students being prepared to make an impact.
Makella Webster, Hershey Montessori School Alumni Coordinator
This week, (February 26 through March 3), is Montessori Education Week – celebrating the 110-year anniversary of Montessori Education!
Hershey Montessori School started almost forty years ago, in 1978 as a rental space with eight students. Today, there are 271 students and over 1,000 alumni who are living and working all over the world. (You can take a look at the history of Hershey Montessori School here).
Two of the greatest gifts that the alumni have been given are both the community of Hershey Montessori School, and the importance of community that was fostered in us at an early age.
The “Community Song” was sung at the annual Thanksgiving Feasts along with the entire school, allowing us as students to feel as though we were a part of something bigger than ourselves. “Look around and you will see community, a family… we are brothers, we are one.” We would work together on projects that benefited the community like preparing meals, taking care of the animals in the classrooms, and helping each other when needed. There was a post on the alumni Facebook group about the log cabin at Huntsburg Campus that was built by staff and students. It was wonderful to see comments from alumni who have fond memories of accomplishing that together. We were taught formal conflict resolution in elementary with elements of it at earlier ages to help foster peace and the ability to work well with each other.
(Photo: Hershey Montessori students circa 1992)
Matt Bernardina who attended Hershey from 1991 to 1994 said, “The Montessori system, as well as my teachers and fellow classmates, helped me grow into who I am today…” He mentions the community around him being impactful on his education and growth. Dr. Montessori recognized the proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” as a truth that she implemented into the educational system she developed.
(Photo: Hershey Montessori adolescent students circa 2002)
It’s a priority for Montessori schools to promote peace in the classroom: establishing and encouraging community is a big part of that. Respecting each other’s differences, recognizing kinship with those around us, and working on projects together were all ways Hershey Montessori School instilled peace throughout our time there. This is something that we carry with us in all future communities we join. Dr. Montessori said, “Establishing peace is the work of education.”
“We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.” – Dr. Montessori
Makella Webster, Hershey Montessori School Alumni Coordinator
Imagine a beautiful place filled with activities that are designed around your needs, calling to your curiosity and imagination. Picture a community where children are surrounded by people who understand, encourage and challenge their strengths. Envision a child learning each day, immersed in a culture of respect and a course of study based upon personal interest and engagement.
Serving children from birth through age 18, Hershey offers challenging, highly individualized programs that focus on the uniqueness of each child.
Hershey offers an exceptional experience on two campuses, including the truly unique, world class farm school.